Alabama always has a defense heavy on NFL talent. Alabama always has a gaggle of electric playmakers. Alabama always has a talented line of road graders.
And this particular rendition of Nick Saban’s Tide has a quarterback who will likely end up a two-time Heisman finalist and a contender to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
If a team isn’t in the top three in the country, it should be scared of this squad, and even those teams need to be on their toes.
The way an upset happens probably results from USC receivers making play after play and quarterback Ryan Hilinski playing a near-perfect game. It’s not really fair to ask that of a player that young, but expecting a win wouldn’t be fair either.
What can USC and Will Muschamp do to show some progress? Hang in early, maybe cover the spread that was up to 26 at one point. Every positive play for the Gamecocks can be seen as a good sign, something to build on. They’ll need something going into a crucial stretch against Missouri and Kentucky the following two weeks.
For now, they’ve got the first of three beastly squads on their schedule and a massive challenge upcoming.
The pick: Alabama 42, South Carolina 13